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Andrew Sutherland "Sutho" (Surrey outposts)
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My First Crayola Doodle Magic Mat
My First Crayola Doodle Magic Mat
Price: 19.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Bold idea, drab colours, 1 Sep 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a pretty good idea- special colour pens that will only actually make their mark on the large, reusable 'magic mat' provided. But the reality is that the pens will only make very faint and dull, washed-out looking marks - nothing like the vivid pictures shown. Not great for 20. So in my view if you want risk-free drawing (that is, something that isn't going to wreck your carpet) then you're better off either with an Aquadoodle or something similar (same principle, i.e. oversized mat but using a water-based pen rather than ink). Or a magnetic drawing board (Etch-A-Sketch type-princuple).. the Tomy Megasketcher is excellent for this. Or just a very large roll of paper and conventional, washable felt tips (I recommend the Melissa & Doug Easel Paper Roll- we just tape a huge sheet to cover the entire tabletop). Or chalk!


Discraft 175g Ultrastar (Bright Red)
Discraft 175g Ultrastar (Bright Red)
Price: 10.79

5.0 out of 5 stars There's quality in everything: even Frisbees, 1 Sep 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I had never previously given much thought to Frisbee quality. A Frisbee is a Frisbee, I had thought. Wrong. My nan always told me: "There's quality in everything" and, it transpires, this wisdom extends to Frisbees. I hadn't chucked one in years but had a hankering recently and plumped for this. It is immense. Gives the truest, purest most satisfying flight I have ever seen: I am utterly addicted. A robust, weighty disc (which, be warned, could cause serious injury if it connects with a child or pet at full pelt) that just feels 'right' in the hand and looks like it'll last a lifetime. Heartily recommended. If you want a Frisbee, look no further.


L'Amour
L'Amour
Price: 12.79

5.0 out of 5 stars Behind every great album there's an even better backstory, 1 Sep 2014
This review is from: L'Amour (Audio CD)
First, buy this CD whilst you still can: the label, Light In The Attic (LITA), have now said that once it's OOP they will not be re-pressing it out of respect to the artist who made this 'vanity album' in L.A. as a private press in 1983 and apparently has no interest in receiving any royalties from its re-release. In fact, it had languished in total obscurity until LITA reissued it in 2014, after an original copy of the LP had been chanced upon in some Canadian flea-market and shared on the internet as a curio. LITA tried and failed to track down its creator, about whom precious little was known save for the fact that 'Lewis' was a pseudonym - real name: Randall Wulff. Canadian. Dated a model. Drove a white convertible Mercedes. And apparently paid for the cover photo with a cheque that bounced, after which he skipped town, never to be heard from again... whereabouts utterly unknown. That's it! A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. A second album - 'Romantic Times' - was subsequently re-released after being rediscovered in the warehouse of some Canadian record store a short while after, with Wulff *eventually* being found alive and well in Canada later in 2014. He apparently had no idea about the recent interest in his old records and didn't care in the slightest, rejecting the offer of royalties that had been set aside into an escrow. So, what of the album? Well, the movie-star cover pic is at once evocative of the music but also misrepresentative; this is a strange and singular-sounding record; there's nothing brassy or gauche or New Wave/80s-L.A. sounding about it. It's an inchoate, gentle, ghostly, ethereal-sounding assemblage of blurry, downtempo love songs - very difficult to neatly describe. Smooth synthesizers, kinda reminiscent of Angelo Badalamenti, occupy the background, with Wulff's mumbled whispery vocals (mostly indecipherable) and lightly strummed acoustic guitar and piano occupying the centre. Shades of Arthur Russel's 'World Of Echo' - the most obvious reference point - or perhaps, I thought, Paul Buchanan / Mark Hollis territory. I've read reviews citing comparisons with Springsteen's 'Nebraska' - which isn't really precise at all, but they do seem to share the same *mood-space*, which figures, because this is a record all about 'mood'. Which is to say that 'L'Amour' is really a bit of a bummer - albeit a gorgeous 80s dream-of-a-bummer. It's music to drift to, to be carried along with. Guaranteed to populate 'best-album-you've-never-heard'-type lists for years to come, I'm sure.


Melissa & Doug Reusable Sticker Pad Bundle
Melissa & Doug Reusable Sticker Pad Bundle
Price: 9.50

4.0 out of 5 stars A Tenner's worth of Reusable Stickers - Good value x2, 30 Aug 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I love the fact that these Melissa & Doug sticker pads are re-useable – for a tenner that represents hugely good value; each page gives you a scene/backdrop and the repositionable stickers can then be stuck on and taken off and re-stuck elsewhere as many times as you like. These ones are ‘play house’ and 'habitat' themed so the backgrounds are all of rooms in the home (for play house) and wildlife settings (for habitat) onto which the various stickers (of kids and homewares and animals) can be placed to bring the scenes to life.


Melissa & Doug Stack and Count Parking Garage
Melissa & Doug Stack and Count Parking Garage
Price: 14.99

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well-built, pleasingly simple, charming toy, 27 Aug 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
First thing to say is that, as with other Melissa & Doug wooden toys I've seen, the Stack and Count Parking Garage is of excellent build-quality, being robustly constructed from brightly-coloured wood rather than cheap flimsy plastic. The pieces are all chunky and it feels substantial and in no danger of breaking, unlike to many toys these days. Visually, there's a charming retro quality to it, too; they seem to have cornered the market for simple, classic-looking, educational toys. Although I dare say that matters less to the child! In this case, I was unsure as to whether it would actually appeal, such is its simplicity - but my son has taken to it; essentially it's all about stacking 10 brightly-coloured little wooden cars in a vertical `garage'; the spaces are numbered so this could theoretically form the basis of some early arithmetic learning but it works well enough just as a test of the child's dexterity.


Melissa & Doug Verdie Chameleon Bubble Blower
Melissa & Doug Verdie Chameleon Bubble Blower
Price: 4.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Cute but no cigar, 23 Aug 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Really cute bubble blower of decent build quality and good for little hands to grasp, but no better than any cheap disposable in terms of the quality or volume of bubbles produced; its USP is that the child purses his/her lips around the tube and blows it like they would a whistle, which is a little easier to do than for regular blowers, but that has its drawbacks too insofar as it does generate a whistling noise, which is distracting, and the loading mechanism for the bubble solution is cumbersome (much simpler and cleaner with conventional blowers to just 'dip' the wand into a receptacle than with this, which requires first decanting the solution into the tiny tray provided, which is easily knocked-over!).


Melissa & Doug Vacuum Play Set
Melissa & Doug Vacuum Play Set
Price: 16.17

3.0 out of 5 stars Cute but doesn't work 100% of the time, 15 Aug 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is cute but the mechanism isn't wholly satisfactory - I'd say it only works and actually 'hoovers up' the supplied wooden pieces about 70% of the time, which is frustrating. Seems to work best on carpet, maybe bear that in mind if your floors are wooden. Perhaps mine is a dud, but I don't think so. From a design POV it's actually very nice- appealingly retro looking, quite chunky and sturdy-feeling (maybe too heavy?) and painted in nice bold colours; it doesn't try to mimic the real thing exactly and I think that's perfectly appropriate for a child's toy designed to fuel the imagination. Just a pity it doesn't work perfectly as a vaccum!


Melissa & Doug Reusable Sticker Pad Vehicles
Melissa & Doug Reusable Sticker Pad Vehicles
Price: 4.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Re-useable = Great value stickerbook, 8 Aug 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I love the fact that these Melissa & Doug sticker pads are re-useable – for a fiver that represents hugely good value; each page gives you a scene/backdrop and the repositionable stickers can then be stuck on and taken off and re-stuck elsewhere as many times as you like. This one is ‘transport’ themed so the backgrounds are all of various infrastructure settings (train station, airstrip, building site) onto which the various vehicles (planes, trains, JCBs etc.) and paraphernalia can be placed to bring the scene to life.


Melissa & Doug Reusable Sticker Pad Princess Castle
Melissa & Doug Reusable Sticker Pad Princess Castle
Price: 4.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Re-useablility = Great value stickerbook, 8 Aug 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I love the fact that these Melissa & Doug sticker pads are re-useable – for a fiver that represents hugely good value; each page gives you a scene/backdrop and the repositionable stickers can then be stuck on and taken off and re-stuck elsewhere as many times as you like. This one is ‘princess’ themed so the backgrounds are all of castles and the like onto which the various people, animals and furnishings can be placed to bring the scene to life.


Melissa & Doug Makea Face Sticker Pad Crazy Animals
Melissa & Doug Makea Face Sticker Pad Crazy Animals
Price: 4.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Brillaint sticker pad... but a shame it's not reusable, 8 Aug 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This sticker pad is brilliant... but it could have been even better if the stickers had been reusable, like they are with most of the other Mellissa & Doug sticker books. Unfortunately these are trad. one-time-use-only stickers so when you're done, you're done. Still, good fun while it lasts, and for a fiver, not too bad - the backgrounds are pictures of various animals (elephant, cow, monkey etc.) minus the facial features, and the stickers are the various noses, eyes, mouths with which to 'complete' the pictures. A hit with all the kids, especially my 4 year old niece. As an aside: because the animation style is very exaggerated and cartoonish we found that we were able to engage our little boy (aged 2 1/2) with it more than we normally can with things like this - he has autism and, as can be typical, has problems reading facial expressions - but he really gravitated towards this. It's also a useful game for us to play together, naming facial expressions and the underlying emotions. That said, perfectly suitable for neuro-typical kids as well- just a handy bonus perhaps for parents of kids with ASD!


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